Happy National Poetry Month! We’re celebrating with five new poetry collections by NER authors (and maybe some captivating prose, too!)
By tapping into the metaphysical, the ekphrastic, the sensual, and the ordinary moments of life, Erika Meitner’s newest collection Useful Junk (BOA Editions) provides a stunning exploration of memory, passion, desire, and intimacy. These poems assert that pleasure is a vital form of knowledge, reminding us that deeply-rooted desires are what keep us alive and moving forward in a damaged world. Meitner’s poem “In the Waiting Room of America” appeared in NER 38.4.
In his highly anticipated second poetry collection, Time is a Mother (Penguin Random House), Ocean Vuong reckons with grief, the meaning of family, and “the cost of being the product of an American war in America.” Deeply intimate and tender, Time is a Mother embraces the nuances of healing and illuminates a means of survival: “How else do we return to ourselves but to fold / The page so it points to the good part.” Vuong’s poem “To My Father / To My Unborn Son” appeared in NER 36.1.
Written between 2016 and 2020, Dana Levin’s fifth collection, Now Do You Know Where You Are (Copper Canyon Press) carries a reader through the disorientations of personal and collective transformation. Formally varied with prosaic breadth, Now Do You Know Where You Are investigates how great change calls the soul out “to be a messenger—to record whatever wanted to stream through.” Levin’s poetry has appeared in multiple issues of NER, most recently in issue 42.2.
Largely composed in Japanese syllabic forms called “wakas,” Victoria Chang explores loss and redemption in her newest poetry collection, The Trees Witness Everything (Copper Canyon Press). Chang contrasts these traditional forms with contemporary language, reconciling the loss of her mother, the ache of wanting, and “our human urge to hide the minute beneath the light.” Chang’s poetry has appeared in several issues of NER, most recently in issue 41.3.
Rachel Mannheimer explores the intersection of art and love in her book-length narrative poem, Earth Room (Changes). Selected by Nobel Laureate Louise Glück as the winner of the inaugural Bergman Prize, Earth Room transports the reader across decades and different landscapes, considering art through “observations shaped by gender and environment, history, and portents of apocalypse.” Mannheimer’s poems “Horses” and “Berlin” appeared in NER 42.4.
A young woman in Kamalpur high society must confront the alcoholism of her mother and change her own hard-partying ways in Naheed Phiroze Patel’s Mirror Made of Rain (Unnamed). Patel’s story explores class and traditions in contemporary India in this exhilarating commentary on family, gender, and addiction. Mirror Made of Rain challenges its reader to contend with how society alters the way we view ourselves. Patel’s short story “Call of the Greater Coucal” appeared in NER 39.3.
Britain’s leading military historian, Richard Overy, reassesses World War II in Blood and Ruins (Viking). Overy argues for a more global perspective on WWII that broadens its focus to consider a century-long lead-up of global imperial expansion, the bitter cost for soldiers, and the heightened level of crime and atrocity that marked the war and its aftermath. Overy’s investigation “The Summer Ends, The War Begins” appeared in NER 31.2.
Joseph Pearson’s My Grandfather’s Knife (HarperCollins Canada) catalogues forgotten stories from World War II through the lens of personal artifacts. These everyday objects—a knife, a diary, a recipe book, a stringed instrument, and a cotton pouch—reveal the histories of their young owners, and illuminate the often dark history of the 20th century. Pearson’s nonfiction piece “This is Also Tangier” appeared in NER 39.1.
Visit our page on Bookshop.org for cumulative seasonal lists of NER author releases.